Perhaps you can hear the sound of a lawn mower as you’re reading this? Plenty of people are mowing weekly if not more often at this time of year to keep lawns trimmed, with gardeners working from morning to evening to keep on top of their summer lawn ideas.
But if you have spring bulbs planted beneath the grass, you’ll need to hold back, renowned gardener Monty Don has revealed. Otherwise, you risk compromising the colorful display of flowers brightening the grass next spring.
To get Monty’s advice on caring for a lawn planted with bulbs, all you need to do is scroll down. Don’t have spring bulbs in your lawn, but love the idea? You’ll discover all the advice you need for planting them here as well as in beds, borders and containers in our planting bulbs feature.
Monty Don’s top tips on caring for bulbs planted in grass
Monty Don revealed why you need to hold back on mowing grass planted with bulbs on his website (opens in new tab). We’re sharing his top tips below along with some of our own.
1. Bulbs such as daffodil, crocus and snowdrops can all be planted in grass to bring a welcome burst of color to the garden at the start of the year. But although the blooms may be gone by June, there are important things happening, and that’s the reason why you shouldn’t mow now, according to Monty.
The foliage of the bulbs needs time to die back in order to feed next year’s bulb and its flowering, he says.
2. The earliest you should mow is after 21 June, Monty cautions. As it’s the longest day of the year, that makes the date easy to remember, too.
3. The performance of spring bulbs is actually only one reason why Monty doesn’t mow until at least after 21 June, though. In his own garden, Longmeadow, as much grass as possible is left to grow long, he says. Mowing is for the paths only.
4. Why let grass grow long aside from maximizing the performance of spring bulbs? It allows any wildflowers it’s planted up with to flourish, too.
Long grass also supports garden insects and other wildlife garden ideas far better than a neatly trimmed lawn does, advises Monty, who’s also a fan of the appearance of long grass that’s planted with flowers.
You can find out how to plant a wildflower meadow in our guide.
5. After 21 June, Monty says long grass can be cut if the weather has been hot and dry. He’s happy to leave the job for longer, however, and admits he sometimes waits as late as mid August.
6. Following Monty’s lead and cutting long grass with flowers for the first time in a year? He cautions that it should be collected up and added to the compost heap.
The reason is that the clippings will add nutrition to the ground. The lusher and coarser grass this would encourage comes at the expense of the flowers, he explains. You can find out how to compost in our guide.
7. Bear in mind that you may need a different lawn mower if you’re following Monty’s lead with long grass and wildflowers, getting yourself a heavy duty version. A smaller area could be cut with a scythe, though, if you’re happy to do the job by hand.
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Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes – long enough to see fridges become smart, decorating fashions embrace both minimalism and maximalism, and interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves testing the latest home appliances, revealing the trends in furnishings and fittings for every room, and investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper.
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